Court victory for Afrikaans at Unisa

Picture: Rekord Centurion

The removal of the language was declared unlawful and unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court of Appeal has ruled that Afrikaans must be reinstated as a medium of instruction at the University of South Africa (Unisa) after an appeal by lobby group Afriforum.

SCA president Judge Mandisa Maya indicated in her ruling, published electronically that, “the new language policy adopted by the University of South Africa is declared unconstitutional and unlawful and is set aside”.

She added: “The university failed to establish that it was not reasonably practicable to continue offering tuition in Afrikaans.”

This comes after a 2016 decision by the university to make it an English-only medium.

The High Court in Pretoria in April 2018, had then ruled in favour of a language policy determining that English be the primary language of instruction at the institution.

The court has ordered Unisa to prominently publish on its website and in three major Afrikaans newspapers a notice containing a full list of the modules that were on offer in Afrikaans previously in 2016, offering all prospective students for the next academic year admission to such modules as presented on a first-year level.

The university has also been instructed to offer all existing students enrolled in any one of those courses or who planned to do so, a choice to register so they can follow the course in Afrikaans until completion of their studies.

Unisa was ordered to pay the costs of application.

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